Past Twister star QB still remembers
Posted: Friday, August 17, 2012 10:33 am
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Even after spending essentially his entire adult life in Louisiana, Dale Logan still considers himself “an ol’ Tennessee boy.”
Everyone with a knowledge of the history of the Union City High School football program reciprocates those warm and fuzzy feelings.
Logan, the valedictorian at UCHS in 1977 and one of the most fondly-recalled players ever in the Purple and Gold annals, carved his own special niche in the program when he led the Golden Tornadoes to their first-ever state playoff appearance in 1976.
A three-year starter who also shined as a baseball player — earning scholarships at both Jackson State Community College and then-Memphis State as a standout infielder — Logan is warmly remembered around these parts for directing Union City to a 9-1 regular season before the Twisters lost a narrow 22-20 decision to Memphis Mitchell in the bone-chilling cold at UT Martin in the playoffs.
And though now a 53-year-old grandfather and semi-retired from the refinery business as a mechanical engineer in Iowa, La., Logan still holds special memories of that time and his teammates during his days as a student/athlete in Union City.
“I remember it was really, really cold, and that I’d hurt my back the week before and wasn’t 100 percent,” Logan told The Messenger via telephone when asked about that aforementioned postseason game. “I can’t recall a lot of details about it, but I do remember how excited the whole town was about us getting into the playoffs. There wasn’t a business downtown that didn’t have its window decorated.
“And I was very fortunate to play with a lot of good athletes, people like Bart Dilday and Mark Speed and Tony Hunt and Leland Davis. And the class behind me had Greg Zipp, who went on to play at Auburn. We all grew up together, competing against each other as individuals, and with those same people as a team against everybody else. Everybody had a role on the team. Mine just happened to be playing quarterback.”
As humble now as he reportedly was then, Logan was more than just a piece of the puzzle on that ’76 squad.
His multiple talents overshadowed his generously-listed 5-10 frame, and when Larry Shanks was hired as UC’s head coach after his sophomore season, Logan’s natural gifts were maximized by the new skipper who installed the veer offense.
“It’s kinda funny how history repeats itself if you hang around this game long enough,” said Shanks, noting the current similar offense employed by current Twister head coach Darren Bowling. “Dale was just a winner. He was such a competitor and was so consistent. He was never going to do anything out of the realm of what he was supposed to do that would get you beat.
“He never wanted any credit either. He was so unselfish. That whole bunch of kids, the Dildays, the Speeds, the Tony Hunts ... they were all so competitive in everything they did. It was a really, really good group, and Dale was the leader.”
Logan said he “figured out quickly” when he got to college that his studies, not athletics, were the key to his future. Before choosing a baseball path, he visited Tennessee and Vanderbilt but laughed when recalling the big boys in college football “weren’t very impressed” when they discovered he was a couple of inches shorter than he was listed on the UC roster.
Nonetheless, he enjoyed a better-than-average college diamond career as a middle infielder, hitting well in both his stops.
“I knew I wasn’t an all star, though, so I spent a lot of my time on road trips studying while several of my teammates did anything but that,” he chuckled.
He went to work almost immediately after his college graduation at Conoco, which later merged with Phillips, and made Louisiana his home.
Logan regularly returns to this area to visit his father (Billy), brother (Billy), and sister Phyllis (Reese). Another sister (Debbie), lives in Illinois.
“You know, it’s sorta funny ... the other day I was talking to somebody down here and they asked if I was from here. Without thinking and even after all these years, I said ‘no, I’m a Tennessee boy.’”
And one of Union City High School’s finest.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org